The caption in the upper-left corner says: vṛkṣa heṭhi māhātmā bhāta ḍhāṃkī rahyā – ‘Under a tree the ascetics kept covering the cooked rice’.

Two ascetics stand under trees, wearing typical Śvetāmbara monastic robes and carrying monastic staffs. Between them is a large bowl, on which they rest their free hands.

These two monks are in the countryside, signalled by the trees. The vessel between them is the begging bowl Śvetāmbara monks use. They hold their hands over it to show that the food should be covered.

The scene summarises the two main components of the rule given in the text beside the illustrated panel. This is that food offered to ascetics should be covered and that the place it is eaten should be covered as well. Following this dietary rule reduces the harm – ahiṃsa – involved in eating.

Other visual elements

As with many Kalpa-sūtra manuscripts, there is a clear intention to make the manuscript a valuable and remarkable object in itself. This aim is signalled by the:

  • coloured background for the text
  • gold ink instead of the standard black ink
  • decorated border with blue floral motifs
  • diamond filled with gold ink, with ornamental blue border.

The diamond in the centre is a symbolic reminder of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm leaf. Strings through holes in the paper were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The diamond is in one of the places where the holes would once have been.